This post is kind of late, seeing as the Toronto Women’s Regatta took place 3 weeks ago, but I’ve been quite behind in my blogging so please bear with me. I’m trying to get competitions done in chronological order so Pickering and TIDBRF posts will follow.
The Toronto Women’s Regatta was NDRC Women’s first regatta of the season. To my knowledge we have never participated in it before (at the very least, I haven’t), so it was a new competition to try out. It was interesting to participate in an all women’s regatta and kind of nice to see so many women’s teams in Toronto. The competition is run by Outer Harbour Senior Women and is a fundraiser for their team. It’s held at Heart Lake, in Brampton, which is a lake that, unsurprisingly, is actually shaped like a heart (it’s kind of cute, actually).
So interesting story on how we decided to participate in this regatta…Gavin really wanted to do it, but it wasn’t in our team’s original plan so the execs weren’t sure if everybody would be available. We sent a poll to ask who was able to come and quite a few people weren’t available due to work. In fact, out of the people that answered the poll, only about 15 or so said yes, and two of those yes’s were from Gavin, who I’m pretty sure shouldn’t even have been eligible to vote. I think Vy and Theresa were a little less than enthusiastic about participating as they had already done it before, through Outer Harbour Premier Women, and thought they had finally escaped it. In the end, we decided we had enough people to do it so we went ahead with it.
It was a slight struggle to make sure we had enough drivers, since most of the drivers on the team were either male or not going. The regatta itself was quite cozy, with most teams being set up very close to each other (it was actually a little crowded). The races consisted of a 500 m qualifying heat (that still counted for points even though races weren’t head-to-head), a 200 m knockout (up to 3 races starting with 4 teams, with one team getting knocked out after each round), and a 2 km.
To my chagrin, the race course wasn’t straight. While the start and finish line buoys were lined up, the middle buoys were placed slightly to the right, meaning the “straightaway” race had turns in it. It confused me in the first race and I ended up steering us so that we ended just outside of our lane. It didn’t exactly help that we didn’t have any boats next to us and the shore wasn’t aligned to the course either, so there was no visual reference point. This crooked course is apparently a regular thing, as Petra mentioned that the Stonehookers steer in the past had also gotten messed up with it. Ending outside of our lane unfortunately resulted in a 2 s penalty for our 500 m race. Luckily, it turned out that even with the penalty, we were still just ahead of the Outer Harbour Senior Women. Unfortunately, we were slower than the Outer Harbour Premier Women (we would have been slower than them even without the penalty, so at least my mistake didn’t cost us).
Learning from the mistake of my first race, I made sure to go through the correct buoys for all subsequent races, but they would always be a little awkward, due to the turns in the course. We would have to aim to the right for the first half, and then turn slightly left for the second half. For the 200 m knockout races, we were in the fastest final, along with both Outer Harbour teams and CSDC. A little bit of strategy is involved in knockout races, as teams need to ensure that they aren’t knocked out, yet also conserve energy for the final races. In the first race, the CSDC steer lost control of their boat, knocking them out, and so the remaining three boats didn’t need to take it too hard. There were also extremely strong winds during the 200 m knockout races, making it quite difficult to line up. Most steers in attendance were very experienced and competent, but even they had difficulty lining up with the wind blowing us every which way. After having to back up and restart twice, the starter didn’t want to delay the races any further and stated that she would not back us up again, nor would we be allowed to raise our hands in the case of a misaligned race. I believe in the second race, the OH Senior Women were actually aligned at about a 45 degree angle but were unable to realign due to the rush at the start. It didn’t seem to affect them, however, as they placed just ahead of the OH Premier Women, who were knocked out.
It’s at this point I’d like to make an off-colour ageist joke and say that senior-aged women, while very experienced and thus great at paddling, don’t have the youthful energy and peak muscle of their younger counterparts and therefore I would say the on-average younger NDRC team had the advantage here (older ladies, please don’t kill me). Age aside, NDRC women are, however, quite a bit stronger and most likely fitter than most other women’s teams, and this strength won them the final race, and thus the whole knockout. Yay! (Please note that Petra is pretty much the fittest lady on our team).
The boys still had practice that day, so a few came afterward to cheer on the girls, bringing McDonald’s in the meanwhile. Ben was a terrible boyfriend, though, and didn’t bring Joëlle any McDonald’s. This food was consumed during the breaks between races. Perhaps not necessarily the best race day food, but whatever.
The last race of the day was the 2 km. First of all, our team (meaning all of NDRC) pretty much sucks at 2 km’s. I don’t know why, but we do. We did terribly in the 2 km. While ranked second for the 500 m, and first in the 200 m, we were ranked not second, not third, but fourth in the 2 km. CSDC (again, due to being old, experienced and good at paddling) won easily, a good 7.54 s ahead of second place (OH Premier Women). Our race felt a little sluggish with a slow rate and a lazy tempo, so that’ll be something we’ll need to work on for the future. The rankings ended up with OH Premier Women in first, NDRC Women in second, and OH Senior Women in third.
I love regattas with cash prizes. The top three placing teams got cash prizes and our team won $200 for ranking second. The kind of sketchy thing about our team, though, is that we don’t have a team bank account. I’m currently treasurer so I take care of the finances and hold the money for the team. So it was a little sketch when the organizers handed me the cheque and it was made out to “NDRC” and I had to ask them to change it because we don’t have a team account and when they asked who to make it out to I was like “um…me.” Very sketch. I wonder if this is how Joe felt when he was in charge of finances for the team.
Overall a fairly successful day. It would have been nice to win the regatta, but we have a nice friendly rivalry going on with the OH Premier Women now, so it’ll be interesting to see how the rest of the season pans out, particularly at Nationals.